2 hours ago | Atlas ObscuraThis British University Has an Archive of Ye Olde Haunted Houses
The photographs housed at the University of Sheffield’s National Fairground and Circus Archive aren’t really meant to be spooky, but there’s just something about a vintage snapshot of a vacant carnival ride or empty sideshow stage that feels like a peek onto a horror movie set.That makes sense to collections manager Arantza Barrutia. She points out that, for many, fear is integral to the experience of a fair of any sort. The draw is “the thrill experience, the feeling of fear you get when you go on a ride or into a funhouse.” In the heyday of Britain’s fairgrounds, from the Victorian era and into the early 20th century, the country’s showmen were savvy businessmen, Barrutia says, who played with this idea of titillating audiences with fear. “Anything that entertained the public, the showmen would have been there, developing that idea,” she says. By the early 20th century, that often included the haunted house and the ghost train, in which fairgoers rode through dark tunnels inhabited by mechanized ghouls (commonly known in the amusement world as a “dark ride”). Barrutia speculates that widespread interest in spiritualism and communicating with those in the great beyond were responsible for these carnival mainstays.
2 hours ago | Atlas ObscuraČebelarski muzej Radovljica (Museum of Apiculture) in Slovenia
These panels are a unique part of Slovenian folk art. The tradition of painting the frontal panels of beehives is a unique Slovenian tradition. The Museum of Apiculture’s collection includes more than 800 examples and is the richest in Slovenia. These paintings present different motifs of everyday life, historical events, relationships, but also illustrate folk tales, proverbs, and different religious themes.The oldest panel is dated 1758, depicting the Pilgrim Mary. This tradition was most actively followed during the 19th-century, roughly between 1820-1880, but it has faded during the 20th-century due to changes in beekeeping technology. In the past, beehives were made by beekeepers themselves. Sometimes the painted panels were bought from rural painters, sometimes they were also done by the beekeepers.
3 hours ago | Atlas ObscuraPodcast: The Pennsylvania Firefly Festival
Listen and subscribe on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and all major podcast apps.In this episode of The Atlas Obscura Podcast, we venture into the deep woods of Pennsylvania, home to the Pennsylvania Firefly Festival, and a phenomena that has drawn attention from scientists and people around the world—and was recently almost destroyed. Our podcast is an audio guide to the world’s wondrous, awe-inspiring, strange places. In under 15 minutes, we’ll take you to an incredible site, and along the way you’ll meet some fascinating people and hear their stories. Join us daily, Monday through Thursday, to explore a new wonder with cofounder Dylan Thuras and a neighborhood of Atlas Obscura reporters.
7 hours ago | A Luxury Travel BlogShort stay: Burleigh Court, near Minchinhampton, Cotswolds, UK
Virginia creeper branches, as thick and sinewed as a farm worker’s thigh, grow across the weathered Cotswold stone of Burleigh Court. This is a hidden gem, a charming country hotel with a superb restaurant, where old world charm marries with contemporary comfort.Featuring 18 rooms, this boutique hotel, looks out across Gloucestershire’s Golden Valley: named after its kaleidoscope of autumnal colours, where honey-coloured farmhouses cling to steep hillsides.This is a restful haven for country walks, books by the log-fire, deckchairs on the terrace, relaxing over afternoon tea and possibly a spot of shooting: there is space in the safe for up to four guns.Surrounded by three acres of terraced gardens – and some of the Cotswold’s 4,000 miles of dry-stone walls – there are plenty of secluded spots and sun traps for relaxation.
16 hours ago | A Luxury Travel BlogThe best of the ‘winter blues’ on a luxury yacht charter to the Caribbean and Bahamas
A cold chill is setting in and celebrities are switching their playground from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean & Bahamas, where there are thousands of remote beaches to leave behind prying eyes and winter woes for festive celebrations in the sunshine and warmth. Discover some of the highly favoured tropical havens to be found not far from the American coast, and plan your own spectacular getaway break with family and friends where the journey is just as important as the destinations.Caribbean destinations: Colourful culture and adventure at every stopUS citizens don’t need a passport to enter the US Virgin Islands, and there is no currency conversion rate to worry about since the US Dollar is the official currency of the USVIs. Add to this is the $1,600 duty-free allowance, and a shopping spree seems all the more enticing, particularly for those who have some last-minute Christmas shopping to do. St. Thomas is the main island for shopping, dining and nightlife, and has some wonderful beaches for family days out. To the east, two-thirds of St. John is a protected national park. Trails lead across the islands, but the most impressive one is underwater. St. Croix is unique, with a wide variety of past European powers that have left their mark upon the arts and culture of this island. Experience the vibrant festivities and events for cherished memories that go beyond the sun, sea and sand of this paradise.
18 hours ago | Atlas ObscuraSt. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Hunter, New York
On August 14, 1960, former professional Ukrainian soccer player John Kobziar invited some of his neighbors to his home in Hunter, New York. The meeting that took place that evening became the first of the "Temporary Committee for the construction of the Ukrainian Catholic Chapel in the Vicinity of Hunter, NY." Together, the group raised the funds to build what is known today as St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church.Construction began on the chapel and grazhda, or parish hall, in 1961 and was completed in 1962. Both structures were built entirely without nails following Ukrainian vernacular architecture and folk art principles. An offshoot of German blockwork or log construction, the church was built according to traditional Ukrainian solid log or timber building.
18 hours ago | Atlas ObscuraThe History and Mystery of Yemen’s ‘Well of Hell’
On the far western edge of Yemen, far from any cities or well-traveled roads, there’s a black mark in the desert, like a giant eye peering up from the earth. Regardless of how uncanny it looks from above, it is a natural phenomenon, a perfectly round and profoundly deep sinkhole called the Well of Barhout, or the “Well of Hell.” It’s easy to see why. Without the help of wings or long ropes, anything that disappears into this 367-foot-deep hole is not going to come out.For centuries, sinister legends have swirled around the Well of Barhout. It’s said that visiting or even talking about it can bring bad luck. It’s also said to be a prison for uncontrollable jinn, a range of spirits that haunt Islamic mythology. The jinn, according to legend, will claim the head of anyone brave (or foolish) enough to descend to the bottom. “Yes, [locals] always told us about that,” says geologist and caver Mohammad Al-Kindi, matter-of-factly. “They also mentioned wild animals. They mentioned strange voices or people screaming below. They mentioned also that the air there is really bad. You will not be able to breathe.” But despite all those warnings, Al-Kindi says he didn’t feel any trace of fear before he recently became the first person to descend to the bottom (and come back up). His head remains attached to his body.
21 hours ago | Atlas Obscura'Newspaper Reader' in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Lancaster is well-known for its rich history in the already-storied state of Pennsylvania, but one thing not often acknowledged is the city's long relationship with newspaper publishing.Lancaster's first newspaper was published in 1752. The Lancaster Gazette catered to both English and German readers, and was soon followed by the Lancaster Journal in 1794. The Journal was a Federalist paper, and in response, the Lancaster Intelligencer & Weekly Advertiser was born, which supported the politics of Jeffersonian Republicans. For years, the two papers bred dozens of similar publications in the city, all of which covered issues from different political perspectives, a commonality in colonial America.
21 hours ago | Atlas ObscuraThe Historian of Hell and the Undead Takes on Dragons
Scott Bruce knows a thing or two about what scares us. As a medieval historian at Fordham University, Bruce focuses on early monastic traditions, but he’s also the editor of Penguin Classics anthologies on hell and the undead. His latest collection, The Penguin Book of Dragons (October 2021), is a guide to the fantastic beasts and where to find them in the world’s mythological and literary traditions. From 19th-century newspaper reports of monsters in America’s Wild West to ancient Japanese beasts that were more worried about giant centipedes than puny human weapons, Bruce explores how the idea of what a dragon is varies by place and time—something that it shares with our notions of the afterlife. And, like tales of hell and ghosts, dragon stories serve some purpose in this world, rather than the next.
22 hours ago | Atlas ObscuraJimbōchō Book Town in Tokyo, Japan
Jimbōchō Book Town is one of the world's oldest surviving and largest-scale book towns, perhaps second only to Kaifeng, China. There are said to be at least 400 bookstores in the district, accounting for over one-third of secondhand book sales in Tokyo. The book town can trace its roots to the early 1880s when several law schools were founded in the Kanda-Jinbōchō area. This was followed by the opening of several bookstores that served the needs of the students, many of whom sold off their textbooks by the end of the semester. Freshmen would come to buy cheap secondhand textbooks, and this tradition went on for years.
22 hours ago | Atlas ObscuraMeet the Ghosts Behind a Japanese City's 'Haunted' Coffee
“In August, this area is packed with people visiting their ancestors’ graves,” notes our taxi driver as we pass through the temple district in Hirosaki on the way to the castle grounds. There are more than 50 temples between the adjacent neighborhoods of Shinteramachi and Zenringai, where 33 Zen temples dating from the 1600s stand shoulder to shoulder. It's also a city full of specters, at least according to a popular local souvenir, "Tsugaru Haunted Coffee," which draws on supernatural legends from Japanese mythology. Each packet depicts a ghost or monster haunting different parts of the city.
23 hours ago | Atlas Obscura'The Public Purse' in Melbourne, Australia
It normally might take the eagle-eyed to spot a purse on the ground in the center of a busy city, but the size of "The Public Purse" makes it hard to miss. In January 1994, the City of Melbourne ran a campaign for submissions for unique street seating. This unusual, large purse made of granite and stainless steel was designed by Simon Perry. It sits as a symbol of the Melbourne Central Business District as both a commercial hub and shopping destination. Perry himself said of his work that it "signifies an interaction between the city and citizens, the public and the private."The work of art was unveiled to the public on September 12, 1994, and has since become a quirky favorite of many Melbourne residents. The seat acts as a place for tired shoppers to rest their legs. Visitors may find tourists trying to open the purse to check for any treasures inside but unfortunately, it is sealed shut.
24 hours ago | CNNA small Australian town's attempt to lure Chris Hemsworth has gone viral. Here's how the actor responded
(CNN) — In the past five years, the Australian town of Cowra has been hit by droughts, Covid and even a mouse plague.So when it came to bringing tourists back to this sunny piece of New South Wales, Cowra Tourism manager Glenn Daley knew it was going to take something massive. Or maybe someone massive.That's when he came up with the idea to reach out to actor Chris Hemsworth, who is Australia's national celebrity tourism ambassador and regularly shares snapshots of himself traveling around Oz on Instagram.The result was #GetChristoCowra, an ad campaign backed by the local tourism council and fully embraced by Cowra's residents. In the ad's video, Cowra locals (some actual citizens, some actors) dress up in Thor costumes, hold up signs and even make plans to build a giant four-story-high statue of the Aussie movie star.
24 hours ago | Atlas ObscuraThe King’s Arms Tavern in Williamsburg, Virginia
Few American restaurants can tout being older than the United States. King’s Arms Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg, a living history museum, is one of them. The tavern first opened its doors in 1772 with a singular reputation—a place “where all the best people resorted,” proclaimed the tavern’s founder Jane Vobe. And that it was. The “public house” provided lodging and food to prominent politicians and soldiers fighting for (and against) American independence. Today, the restaurant pays homage to this history by reproducing 18th-century food and fashion. Guests are greeted by servers and staff in traditional attire. Tables are adorned in pewter candlesticks, brass sconces, and serving pieces once popular with the Virginia gentry.
24 hours ago | Atlas ObscuraMuseo Mario Cassisa: Atelier le Labyrinthe de la Mèmoria in Trapani, Italy
In the historic center of Trapani, just behind the busy pedestrian thoroughfare of Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, a multitude of ceramic faces adorn the facade of a particular building. Another glance reveals a group of colorful sculptures created from a hodgepodge of diverse objects. Welcome to the world of Mario Cassisa, a Sicilian-American outsider artist. The studio where he lived and worked for decades is now a museum that overflows with art and memorabilia from his extensive world travels. Thin, bronze sculptures draped with strange objects tower over rows of elaborate paintings adorn the walls. One hundred or more artist books are stacked on shelves, each covered with collages and prominently bearing the name CASSISA. Art covers every available surface, for Cassisa did not stop painting at the edges of his canvases, but instead continued onto elaborately decorated frames. The over-the-top frames alone are worth a visit.
Oct 20, 2021 | Atlas ObscuraPartnach Memorial in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
The Partnachklamm is a massive gorge that eroded over millennia by the Partnach river which runs through the woods to the towns of Garnish and Paterkirchen. This made the river an ideal way to transport wood, but this was not always the safest method.Lumberjacks would cut trees along the river and push them into the gorge to make the water do most of the transportation work. Of course, this was incredibly dangerous, as people were often injured by trees, fell into the river, or were crushed by falling rocks. Many of the workers that died were commemorated with little plaques and shrines. The largest of these is called Die Passion, and commemorates some of the deaths in an artistic way.
Oct 20, 2021 | The NY TimesHouse Hunting in France: In Brittany, a Medieval Makeover for $1.2 Million
This Medieval six-bedroom home sits on a quiet cobblestone alleyway in the walled Breton town of Dinan, in northwestern France. The property comprises two conjoined buildings — one dating from the 15th century with an enclosed timbered-frame porch that extends over the main entrance, and the other with a pediment dormer and red shutters and trim.Called La Maison Pavie, the 2,900-square-foot property was once the home of the French diplomat and explorer Auguste Pavie, and has been operating as a bed-and-breakfast for about a decade, said Béatrice Viel, a regional partner with Patrice Besse, which has the listing.Above the entrance to the four-story granite masonry-and-stone buildings, the centuries-old porch has three large symmetrical windows topped by a dormer with a slate-tiled bell roof. The entire dwelling was renovated in 2010, though an original staircase to the top floor and an old latrine were preserved.
Oct 20, 2021 | The NY TimesHow to Talk to the World Through Free Translation Apps
Need to have a conversation in a language you don’t know, make sense of a printed sign or quickly translate a message? With Google and Apple revving their machine-learning engines in their Google Translate and Apple’s Translate apps, there’s a whole new world of communication possibilities right in your pocket.Keep in mind that computer interpretation is not perfect. You may get some awkward translations (and stares). Third-party apps may be more in depth. But these freebies can provide a general sense of things and become learning aids. Here’s a quick tour.Google Translate is in its 15th year and available on the web, as a Chrome browser extension and as an Android and an iOS app. Apple released its Translate app last year for the iPhone and added it to last month’s iOS 15 update for the iPad.
Oct 20, 2021 | Atlas ObscuraKostis Palamas House in Athens, Greece
Born in Patras, Greece in 1859, Kostis Palamas attended high school in nearby Mesolonghi. After his graduation in 1877, he moved to Athens. Palamas enrolled at the University of Athens, but soon left his studies and pursued a career in journalism. His true passion was poetry, and after meeting other like-minded poets in the early 1880s, he co-founded the “New Athenian School of Poetry” or “Palamian School,” a group formed to advance the Greek literary movement.Palamas published his first collection of poetry in 1886 and quickly became a leading literary figure of his generation. He returned to the University of Athens in 1897 and held a respected position there until 1926 when he left to dedicate more time to poetry.
Oct 20, 2021 | Atlas ObscuraVollpension in Vienna, Austria
While many restaurants may claim to serve homespun comfort food “just like grandma used to make,” at this Viennese café, the baked goods are made by real grandmas. Vollpension, or “full pension” in German, is a social enterprise that aims to give local retirees a chance to connect with people while earning extra income. The staff consists of a squad of Omas (grandmothers), with a few Opas (grandfathers) onboard for good measure. Order a slice of apple strudel or Sachertorte, Austria’s famous chocolate cake layered with jam, and the Oma who baked it from her family recipe may tell you all about it.
Oct 20, 2021 | Atlas ObscuraPodcast: The Great Stalacpipe Organ
Listen and subscribe on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and all major podcast apps.In this episode of The Atlas Obscura Podcast, we visit the Luray Caverns in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, home to an instrument that draws out the secret sounds of millennia-old stone.Our podcast is an audio guide to the world’s wondrous, awe-inspiring, strange places. In under 15 minutes, we’ll take you to an incredible site, and along the way you’ll meet some fascinating people and hear their stories. Join us daily, Monday through Thursday, to explore a new wonder with cofounder Dylan Thuras and a neighborhood of Atlas Obscura reporters.
Oct 19, 2021 | CNNCelebrating the tastes of Chinese American bakeries
(CNN) — In an age when Chinese food is no longer foreign to international audiences, with diners willing to embrace its many regional cuisines, there's one culinary area that has yet to receive much attention globally -- baking.Kristina Cho's recently published "Mooncakes and Milk Bread: Sweet & Savoury Recipes Inspired by Chinese Bakeries" aims to change this by offering a rare collection of recipes inspired by the Chinese American bakeries and cafes she visited as a child.An architecture graduate and interior designer, Cho turned to baking a few years ago when she couldn't find satisfaction at work, eventually starting her blog, Eat Cho Food. Her grandparents moved to Cleveland from Hong Kong in the late 1960s, and some of Cho's favorite childhood memories include trips to Chinese bakeries around the US, where she would devour egg tarts and hot dog flower buns.
Oct 19, 2021 | A Luxury Travel BlogWhen Steigenberger and Porsche Design join forces: Steigenberger Porsche Design Hotels
Deutsche Hospitality and the Porsche Design Group are joining forces to present the Steigenberger Porsche Design Hotels brand, an innovative hotel concept in the Luxury Lifestyle Segment. Steigenberger Porsche Design Hotels will bring together design, technology and lifestyle at the very highest level. The result will be a unique brand experience created from the design philosophy and values of the exclusive Porsche Design lifestyle brand. This will be combined with the excellence and experience of Steigenberger, which boasts a representative tradition stretching back for more than 90 years. The first planning stage involves the establishment of up to 15 hotels in global metropolises such as London, Singapore, Dubai and Shanghai.
Oct 19, 2021 | The NY TimesUnited Airlines earned $473 million in the third quarter as travel demand stayed strong.
United Airlines on Tuesday reported a $473 million profit for the three months ending in September, underscoring the resilience of air travel demand during the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.The airline, which said it had $7.8 billion in operating revenue during the quarter, also expressed optimism about the coming months, noting that government officials around the world are slowly easing travel restrictions and companies are starting to send employees on more business trips.“We’re solidly on track to achieve the targets we set for 2022,” Scott Kirby, the airline’s chief executive, said in a statement. “From the return of business travel and the planned reopening of Europe and early indications for opening in the Pacific, the headwinds we’ve faced are turning to tailwinds.”
Oct 19, 2021 | Atlas ObscuraOyster Sidewalk in New Orleans, Louisiana
Along St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans, you're sure to run into a few things that will stop you in your tracks. Amongst those hidden gems is a charming mosaic of oysters at the former site of The Pearl Restaurant and Oyster Bar.Installed in the 1940s, this sidewalk harkens back to glamorous days past. In fact, the sidewalk style of terrazzo has been famously used to create the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The sidewalk style reached its popularity peaks between the 1920s and 1940s. Around New Orleans, business owners used the mosaics to attract attention of passersby. This sidewalk, though neglected, is one of the few remaining and certainly one of the most unique.
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